Numbers Say Emergency Care Is One of the Best Values in Health Care

From ACEP Now:

A recent study, reviewed in an EMRA+ PolicyRx Health Policy Journal Club article, provides an even more eye-popping perspective. The emergency department’s role in health care is quite large, impacting almost half of all hospital care, which is known to be the largest slice of the health care expenditure pie. As other clinicians continue to use the emergency department as an access point for their patients’ unscheduled acute care or as a rapid diagnostic center, our slice of the health care pie will inevitably increase. Ultimately, this will further magnify the attention on emergency care of those minding the national health care piggy banks. Instead of antagonizing the emergency medicine community, policymakers and payers should partner with us to identify solutions to bend the cost curve.

Kansas church forgives $2.2M in medical debt

From Becker’s:

Pathway Church in Wichita, Kan., recently donated  money to cover $2.2 million in medical debt, according to CBS-affiliate TV station KWCH.

The donation to RIP Medical Debt, which buys and forgives medical debt for pennies on the dollar, will eliminate 1,600 Kansans’ medical debt.

Practices Physician shortage: The numbers keep climbing, now estimated at 122,000 by 2032

From Fierce Healthcare:

There’s no good news when it comes to predictions of a physician shortage.

The estimates continue to climb, as the country will see a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032, according to a new report (PDF) from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The demand for physicians will continue to grow faster than the supply, according to the new data published today by the AAMC.

Lyme Disease in Nebraska

From the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (hat tip: Dr. Menadue)

Link to PDF.

Excerpt:  The arrival of spring marks the beginning of another tick season. In the interest of public health and prevention, our office seeks to inform Nebraska health care providers about Lyme disease, including proper testing of suspect cases and treatment.


New set of emergency department standards may help identify patients at high risk for suicide


It’s a common scenario in emergency departments (EDs): A person comes in complaining of a painful stomachache, a crushing migraine or another acute medical condition. While health care providers work to address the patient’s physical symptoms, further observation reveals that there’s more going on than meets the eye — the physical pains that brought the individual into the ED are actually signifiers of deeper psychological pains.

In the not-so-distant past, busy ED providers may have discharged patients like this after addressing their physical ailments: The psychological roots were someone else’s problem. But today, with more and more people turning to EDs for mental health care, and state rates of suicide up by 40.6 percent since 1999, Minnesota emergency medicine providers are acknowledging that change needs to happen.

This spring, members of MN Health Collaborative, a group of state health care organizations convened by the Bloomington-based Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), announced a new set of shared standards designed to address suicide prevention and intervention in Minnesota’s EDs.

One key element of the recommendations is establishing a set of screening tools that emergency health care providers can use to determine if patients — even those who come in for seemingly unrelated issues — are at risk of suicide.

Pothole jolts Nebraska man’s heart back into normal rhythm, paramedics say

From Becker’s:

For most drivers, potholes are an unsightly nuisance. But for a paramedic team in Nebraska, the road hazard helped treat a patient with a rapid heartbeat, reports NBC affiliate WOWT.

As paramedics were transporting a 59-year-old man to CHI Health Lakeside Hospital in Omaha, the vehicle hit a large pothole.

The bump jolted the man’s heart, which was beating at 200 beats per minute, back into a normal rhythm, paramedics said.

Duty to provide care until stabilization may reach beyond emergency department

From Wolters Kluwer:

A Tennessee medical center must continue to defend against EMTALA claims, even though the transferred patient was treated as an inpatient for nine days.

A Tennessee federal district court considered multiple motions to dismiss concerning alleged violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, and the Patient Protection and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), related to the death of a 93-year-old patient who was admitted to a Tennessee medical center for nine days and then subsequently transferred to a rehabilitation facility. The estate alleged the patient was not stabilized and safe for transfer and was denied proper medical care based on her age. The court refused to dismiss the EMTALA claim finding that the duty to stabilize an emergency medical condition may continue beyond the emergency room. However, the court was unable to consider the issue of whether the patient’s medical conditions qualified as emergency medical conditions or were new issues since this determination was outside the scope of a motion to dismiss. The ACA claim was dismissed since the estate failed to exhaust its administrative remedies (Galuten v. Williamson Medical Center, April 9, 2019, Richardson, E.).